Monday, February 25, 2008

excuse me while i kiss the sky

sometimes i am stricken with a sudden fear of heights. depending on my mood, i may or may not actually ride any of the roller coasters at an amusement park. but at no time would i ever willingly be rocketed straight into the sky, and then just as dramatically sent to examine the earth's molten core.
well, there was that one time....

a few summers ago i was unemployed and found myself conspiring with my older sister to convene at our mother's house, offspring in tow.

we spent a week hanging out and having fun, and generally driving gamma crazy.
one of the things we did (twice) was make the trek across the canadian border to visit marineland. her kids may have been underwhelmed, having been to seaworld several times, but pooka was pretty thrilled.

both days have singular events that fix them fondly and firmly in my memory. the second day we got a chance to hand feed the beluga whales. they are called the canaries of the sea for good reason. they talk almost as much as bug does.

but the first day, that's the day i vowed never to speak to my sister again.

she cajoled me into riding the sky screamer with her. normally i would not even look twice at a ride like that. being with my sister the dare-devil, i felt galvanized.

i should have know from the twelve half- mile hike up the hill that i wasn't going to enjoy what followed. and there was a line, so it's not like i didn't have plenty of time to reveal my yellow belly and back out. when i saw children barely older than my daughter laughing their way to the exit path, i steeled myself and grew a spine.

we finally got strapped in and were duly warned to keep our heads against the back. 10 seconds later we were still waiting and so dropped our heads. that was the precise moment that we were launched into space, screaming the whole way.

obviously, this is how they got the name of this infernal 'amusement'.

at the top, they gave us just enough time for our internal organs to regain their natural positions. then they dropped us like a rock.

there was more screaming.

when i finally dismounted, i could barely stand nor breathe. pam immediately went to rejoin the line. after a choice word or two, i went to buy myself a bag to hyperventilate into a water bottle. so badly was i shaking that i merely held out a handful of coins for the attendant to pick out the required fee, like a baffled tourist who can't comprehend a foreign money system.
i was so grateful to still be alive, i promptly reneged on my vow to disown pam.